Thoughts on e-bikes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on e-bikes?

    I've seen one in Pinebrook and one at the Bob's/24-7 area (different dudes) already this year. Anyone have thoughts on whether they should be allowed/not allowed on trails in PC or UT in general? Signage at most of the Park City trailheads is pretty clear on the "no motorized vehicles" thing already but like most signs ("wet ground turn around" is NEVER obeyed...sigh) I don't think most people pay much attention.

    I'm honestly conflicted - I don't think the assist type bikes will do any meaningful damage or cause short term problems, but I fear the future of hopped-up nigh-motorcycles and swarms of lazy people treating my favorite trails like the lift-served ones at the resort. Maybe I'm crazy. More people riding might be a good thing!

    -Walt

  2. #2
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    people are stupid and get into trouble often enough when pedaling. I know that E-bikes are going to be even worse in that regard. And then of course the hackers creating "electric motorcycles", we should see that later this Summer if things progress like they normally do......

  3. #3
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    Honestly I think it's kind of like the straight ski vs the shape /fat ski Glen plake thing of the 90s. Satin forbid, but I'll probably be rocking an ebike when I'm 75 if I'm still alive.
    I view mtb more like back country skiing beyond the cottonwood/PC skin track highway thing , so I'm kind of just happy to see a human or so every now and again.
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  4. #4
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    I think they'll cause more user conflicts and further muddy up access controversies. But I think they are great for commuting, rail trails, and I'm surprised they have not been built and marketed for bike touring yet.

  5. #5
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    BLM outlawed them on trails in the Moab area and I thought statewide? In CA where I Used to work they were illegal on bikepaths and any street with a speed limit over 25 MPH, plus you had to have a driver's license to ride them on the street. If I were to go electric for trails I think I'd go full electric and get the new KTM or a Zero motorcycle and leave the bike trails alone.

  6. #6
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    FWIW, an interesting thread related to ebikes in Utah, how kits are regarded and how fuzzy it all is.

    No Clarity for DIY Vendors - Electricbike.com Forum

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    I view them like iron lungs and wheelchairs. If the only way you could enjoy the trails is to ride one maybe a "disabled" tag would be appropriate.

  9. #9
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    Part of the problem with e-bikes is that they may be perceived by angry hikers as electric motorcycles. And once they become more powerful (just look on YouTube) this perception will only increase. Although I agree that most of the current e-bikes probably don't cause that much trail damage the bigger and more powerful rigs most certainly will. Keep 'em out.
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  10. #10
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    It's a slippery slope. The trail damage is not the concern, the concern is access. Once Mountain Bikes = Motorized Bikes, then the days of expanding access are gone, and rapidly shrinking access to trails will be here very quickly. The antis already have it in their talking points, and once we can no longer make the argument that bikes are human powered, the rest of those making the decisions will jump in line. If you want to rapidly lose access, then go ahead and support the concept that eBikes=Mountain bikes. That will be a huge problem, and because of that we need to be as steadfast as possible in keeping them off non-motorized trails, and keeping them out of influenece in our advocacy organizations.

  11. #11
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    If they are limited only to areas where motorcycles are allowed, that will prevent issues.

    It is a camel's nose situation.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    If they are limited only to areas where motorcycles are allowed, that will prevent issues.

    It is a camel's nose situation.
    At the state level, they are legal on singletrack except where expressly prohibited by local jurisdictions.

    Here's a link to the bill that just passed.

    SB0121

  13. #13
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    ^^Luckily the vast majority of land people ride bikes on in UT is BLM or USFS land.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmmUT View Post
    Please be quiet while the adults here have a conversation.
    For the smug "adults" that cant see past my crass humor

    My thoughts on e bikes are as follows: I think they are and should always be classified as a motorized vehicle. They should not be allowed on non-motorized trails. The only exception IMO is if you have a particular disability that an e bike is the only way that allows you to ride a bike(laziness and obesity does not qualify) and in that case I believe there should be some sort of tag displayed on the bike.

    Other then non-motorized trails, if e biking is your thing, its a free country, have at it.

  15. #15
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    I personally don't like them, but it seems that our legislature has already settled the argument -- they're bikes and entitled wherever bikes can go.

    Utah State Electric Bike Laws

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ski_adk View Post
    I personally don't like them, but it seems that our legislature has already settled the argument -- they're bikes and entitled wherever bikes can go.

    Utah State Electric Bike Laws
    As stated previously:

    Luckily, the vast majority of land in UT is BLM, USFS, or NPS owned.

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  17. #17
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    "Motorized" vehicles of all kinds are prohibited on all Summit county trails. There might be some wiggle room for e-assist bikes, not clear on that.

    They were specifically banned from all "natural surface" trails (ie singletrack) last year:
    City implements e-bike rules under pilot program - The Park Record

    It's not clear to me if that ban is still in place, though.

    I've asked Bob Radke for feedback on this but haven't heard back from him yet.

    -Walt

  18. #18
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    I have no problem with the bikes themselves, getting people on two wheels by any means necessary is good thing.

    Limiting their use to certain locations by "motorized" verbiage is also a good thing. There will always be a few who believe that the rules do not apply to them.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmar123 View Post
    For the smug "adults" that cant see past my crass humor

    My thoughts on e bikes are as follows: I think they are and should always be classified as a motorized vehicle. They should not be allowed on non-motorized trails. The only exception IMO is if you have a particular disability that an e bike is the only way that allows you to ride a bike(laziness and obesity does not qualify) and in that case I believe there should be some sort of tag displayed on the bike.

    Other then non-motorized trails, if e biking is your thing, its a free country, have at it.
    Disability tag is just another slippery slope. Anyone with a back ache will get one simply as a matter of some trivial bureaucratic hurdle.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turd View Post
    Honestly I think it's kind of like the straight ski vs the shape /fat ski Glen plake thing of the 90s.
    I don't think it's anything like that, at all. That was a subtle change in the shape and construction of a product which certainly made skiing easier but is much different than an engineered mechanism for converting electrical to mechanical energy in order to reduce effort.

    In my opinion e-bikes are a bastardization of all that is good about bicycling and they have absolutely no place on singletrack. I can see them for commuting, but don't think they should be allowed anywhere motorized vehicles are prohibited. I think there is no doubt that would open up the doors to easier access for motorcycles, atvs, etc. down the road.

  21. #21
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    Try rocking some 195m straight, skis from the early 90's in the backcountry for a day and get back to me on that one.
    (Like $5 at the DI)
    We are probably all full of it. I haven't ridden an ebike, anyone? As far as I'm concerned
    It's like saying a pedal bike with some electronic crap. Modern full suspension is insane, anyone have a problem with that contraption ripping down the mountain? The fat ass gravity shuttlebus tourism BS is a bigger problem. Gas up the van, get on an e-bike and rape the mother. Bike paths as we know it will become the side-country Wasatch of today.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turd View Post
    Try rocking some 195m straight, skis from the early 90's in the backcountry for a day and get back to me on that one.
    (Like $5 at the DI)
    Like the 205cm long Tua Wilderness I still ski with leathers and 3 pins?? Those are a lot skinnier than the $5 thrift barrel downhill skis you mention. I also have 115 waist rockered skis with plastic boots for touring, so I am no stranger to the transition you mentioned.

    That's still a lot different from a design perspective than adding an electric motor to something IMO. Accessing wilderness on fat vs skinny skis is really no different as far as impact is concerned. It's also a lot different than enabling somebody that would never get into the remote backcountry without a motor to assist.

    Edit to add:
    Quote Originally Posted by Turd View Post
    The fat ass gravity shuttlebus tourism BS is a bigger problem.
    I don't disagree with that. Stinkin' shuttle monkeys!
    (p.s. 195 meter skis would be crazy long even if they had some significant shape to them)
    Last edited by BumpityBump; 05-25-2016 at 05:11 PM.

  23. #23
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    I ride a rigid ss, and several weeks ago I came up on a couple of e-bikers chilling at the dry creek switchback. Once they saw me grunting towards them, they quickly turned on their bikes and zoomed up the switchback. For some reason this infuriated me, and motivated me to catch up and pass them...alpha male syndrome or something. After passing them on the climb I eventually let them by after the overlook.

    That encounter and the whole e-bike debate has made me reflect on why I ride. I enjoy getting outside, and pushing my physical limits on the bike produces an addictive high that's hard to explain. Some people would rather not suffer while enjoying our trails, and I can understand that. As long as this trend does not endanger access or cause destruction, I'm ok seeing them on the trail...just don't steal all the strava KOMs!

    My biggest concern is management of the Crest, but that's off topic.

  24. #24
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    Still only allowed on paved trails in P.C., But what happens if Vail starts renting them. They could allow them on their trails and we would have to accept that.
    I'm 64 and I still pedal to the top...ok sometimes I take the bus to Montage and then ride home, but I still climb a few thousand feet before I get done.
    E-bikes for commuting are great. Lets keep them off the trails.

  25. #25
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    I'm most concerned about future bike access issues as well as more day to day user conflict. I don't think the motors will contribute anything to trail erosion in normal conditions, you can't really do a burn out on em. But, if these things bring 'new' riders to the trails, I'd pretty much guarantee that these riders will be even more clueless about trail etiquette than some of the recent comrades we've had join the mountain bike legions. Mud, yielding to climbers/hikers/horses (newbie trying to slow down a 50lb bike - even with the sweet new E-bike certified SRAM brakes).
    I'm also pretty freaked out about encountering an E-assisted climber while enjoying my earned gravity-assist. I'm a hyper-vigilant yielder, but I still have some close calls on blind turns now and then. I'm pretty well 'calibrated' to deal with people climbing at normal speeds, but the idea of someone climbing 24-7 between Bob's Basin and Preserve Connector or Spiro or CMG at 15-20mph instead of 6 or 7mph gives me the willies.

    I have no doubt they are a blast, but they really need to stay on single tracks that are open to motorized vehicles. AF Canyon would be an absolute blast, but I'm sure people will feel entitled to more than that and The B trails because they just spent $7k on this rig and this is Merica dammit!

  26. #26
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    I actually am a bit concerned with trail erosion. I've been passed by several e-bikes going uphill and there was definitely a small rooster tail of dirt coming up from the back wheel. I'm afraid that they will tear up a trail faster than a non-assist bike. Trail erosion is no longer a mostly downhiller caused problem.

  27. #27
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    2-way closing speeds is probably a huge problem. I have to imagine trails like Flying Dog would have to go to directional to even make it work at all - because there's no way it would be safe to have people riding up at 12-15 mph at the same time that people are coming down at 15-20.

    Agreed also that Vail will probably be renting them at some point, and that they can do whatever they want with the trails on their land. Given that a lot of those are already lift-served in the summer and packed with tourists/beginners, I'd think hard about adding motor assist to the mix. But I bet there's good money in that kind of thing so I'd be surprised if we don't see some in the near future.

    -Walt

  28. #28
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    So they are allowed where exactly at the moment? Just dry creek? Corner Canyon? Sounds like all the single track in PC is off limits and obviously all BLM NF/PS non motor trail.

    I always like to be informed to politely state the current law when I run into people on trails riding ebikes.

  29. #29
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    AFAIK they are banned from soft surface trails in PC, but it might be that the state law takes priority?

    I don't think anyone knows. The laws weren't written with singletrack in mind, they were intended to allow electric bikes for use on bikepaths/bike lanes without requiring licensing and registration like a motor vehicle. Nobody cares at the state legislature level about mountain biking, so they didn't write the law to address that.

    -Walt

  30. #30
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    Saw an e-bike coming down Spiro the other day.

    There are already problems on Flying Dog with down hill riders going too fast.

  31. #31
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    I was just in Canyon Cycles (now Hangar 5 Cycles) in Draper. They sell the Levo. Two guys where in there, both older and overweight. They were looking at the Levo. One, who apparently owns one already, was taking about how great they are to ride in Corner Canyon.

    I overheard this, and mentioned that they are not allowed in CC. They didn't care. Who will know, they said? No concern for future access, nothing. The sales person did nothing to interject or explain that they are not allowed on all trails.

    I get that bike shops are trying to make sales, but they are going to lose a whole lot of sales if bikes are banned from trails in the future because of the ebike issue. Education should start with bike shops too.

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  32. #32
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    Unfortunately, they ARE allowed in Corner Canyon.

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  33. #33
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    Just saw an old guy (almost my age!) up on the Crest trail. I must have "low T", as it didn't bother me.

  34. #34
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    I'd be in if you could pop it off, start mumbling in to an intelligent phone. Device would turn into a drone and fly home.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Unfortunately, they ARE allowed in Corner Canyon.

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    Serious? My understanding was that they are prohibited by the "no motorized vehicles" signs. I am surprised that draper would allow ebikes. Having served on the parks and trails committee in the past, I got to listen on a monthly basis to user conflict complaints. Seems like ebikes are only going to magnify that problem.

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  36. #36
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    Here are some links, discussions, polices, articles, etc. on e-bikes.

    US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management E-Bike Policy | Flagstaff Biking Organization
    There are links in this article to the Forest Service and BLM policies on e-bikes. Found it interesting how BLM actually has some nice things to say about e-bikes. Wonder if they are leaving the door open for adjustments in the future.

    Elephant In The Room: The Great E-Bike Controversy – Dirt Rag

    Utah Senate Bill 121 May Fix Electric Bike Issues and May Introduce New Issues - News and Commentary - Cycling West - Cycling Utah

  37. #37
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    Here's a link to the legislation that passed.

    https://le.utah.gov/~2016/bills/static/SB0121.html

    Peopleforbikes, who wrote the legislation, always insists that it's only intended to apply to bike paths and similar trails, not to singletrack, but IME in dealing with them, they will resist not leaving it vague which allows a varied interpretation. They aren't even clear in their description of where you can ride emtbs on their site.

    http://b.3cdn.net/bikes/110b0c7a5c99..._mlblcr5op.pdf

    I would expect the insdustry is hard at work lobbying the USFS/BLM to change their stance, I've read the BLM tried a pilot program in Fruita. Considering how much land the two agencies manage in the west, it's a nut the bike industry needs to crack to gain much momentum with emtbs. I wouldn't be surprised if they ammended their mangement plan to give local districts more freedom in allowing them, I also wouldn't be surprised if it never changed. They are not the most nimble of agencies, so I wouldn't hold my breath either way.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by drboudreaux View Post
    Serious? My understanding was that they are prohibited by the "no motorized vehicles" signs. I am surprised that draper would allow ebikes. Having served on the parks and trails committee in the past, I got to listen on a monthly basis to user conflict complaints. Seems like ebikes are only going to magnify that problem.

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    Well here's the rub. The recent legislation classifies ebikes as bicycles. This is in the motor vehicle code but it's somehow been interpreted to include state and city owned single track. This means CC. So even though CC has signs saying no motorized vehicles, it doesn't apply to ebikes. This is also up to the land manager. At the moment, they're ok with ebikes, that could change.

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  39. #39
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    I have seen a lot of e-bikes on the CC trail system this year.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    I have seen a lot of e-bikes on the CC trail system this year.
    Maybe I should try to get back on the Parks and Trails Committee.

  41. #41
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    I don't agree that they wont cause more trail damage. I rented one in Europe recently and they are FAST. At just under 50 pounds the added mass requires quite a bit more effort to stop .
    That extra mass carried low also made that bike really stable, so with the 160mm of travel and 27+tires I could rip on descents. It was too heavy for me to manual very well, so I really had to smash into things like I used to do on a motocross bike. It handle that fine, because it wouldn't get deflected much because of it's weight.
    Combine those things, and braking areas are going to be seriously damaged by them. Braking areas in PC are thrashed as it is.

    I like climbing and I'm good at it, but if we had a way to use ebikes to shuttle for gnarly dh runs or if I lived in a place without lifts that had good road access to DH trails, I might consider one. They could be a good alternative to shuttling in trucks.
    We don't have that around here, its not a good or appropriate place for them.
    Ive seen 5 or 6 recently and if off leash dogs are any indicator of enforcement, we'll be seeing a lot more.

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